The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT), a network of Australia’s eight specialist rehabilitation agencies that work with survivors of torture and trauma, has expressed concern for the health and wellbeing of Mr Hakeem al-Araibi, an Australian permanent resident and professional footballer, who has been detained for 50 days in Thailand, pending possible extradition to Bahrain.
This course of action taken by the Thai and Bahrain governments contravenes international human rights law and places Mr al-Araibi, a recognised refugee and torture survivor, at serious risk of imprisonment and torture if forcibly extradited.
According to the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, there are currently over 4,000 prisoners of conscience in Bahrain. 11 citizens died as a result of torture in Bahrain’s prisons in 2017.
Torture is a systematic violation of human rights that is, and must remain, unacceptable under any circumstances. Australia has offered Mr al-Araibi protection in this country and an opportunity to heal from past traumatic experiences.
“Torture can have severe and long lasting health and mental health consequences for the victims who survive these horrific ordeals and its impact can extend to the survivors’ family, friends, and the community as a whole,” said STARTTS CEO, Jorge Aroche.
FASSTT member agencies are concerned about the risks currently being experienced by Mr al- Araibi and urge Thai authorities to release him so that he can be safely reunited with his wife and rebuild the new life the Australian government has granted him in Australia.
The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT) is a network of Australia’s eight specialist rehabilitation agencies that work with survivors of torture and trauma who have come to Australia from overseas. Most clients of FASSTT agencies have come to Australia as refugees or humanitarian entrants. FASSTT agencies also work with survivors of torture and trauma who have come to Australia as asylum seekers. There is one FASSTT member agency in each state and territory of Australia.
This statement is supported by
QPASTT: Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma
STARTTS: Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors
STTARS: Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service
VFST: Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture